[rescue] Ultra 1 newbie q'ns

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Tue Jan 2 00:43:19 CST 2007

On Mon, 1 Jan 2007, Micah R Ledbetter wrote:

> My understanding is that unless you're overclocking, the cheap RAM
> from major companies is as good as the expensive stuff.

Not generally true.  $ork made this assumption when buying RAM to
upgrade about 400 systems a couple months back, so they bought cheap
stuff made by "Super Talent".  I'd estimate that we've had to replace
about 10% of the memory so far, but, given the failure pattern, I
suspect we'll end up replacing at least 30% of it before 2007 is out.

> In Kingston's case, their ValueRAM label has worked great for me when
> I've bought it.

For the memory which couldn't be ordered as Super Talent (ie: they
didn't make the right memory for one of our large Opteron systems and
for some of the Sun systems), they ordered Kinsgston ValueRAM.  The
smaller DIMMs under that label appear to be just fine, but we're having
a hell of a time with failures on the denser stuff.  One of our systems
developed failures on half of its sticks[0].

As best as I can tell, the failures are thermally-related.  The systems
don't get unreasonably hot, but they do run at 100% CPU load all the
time, so the memory doesn't live in the typical web/e-mail/Office
environment.  Maybe the memory's just not rated to be beat on that
soundly.  When the systems cool off, the memory is usually fine until I
run an exerciser on it for a few hours.  In any case, it's not a product
I could recommend to anyone else.

As a contractor, I bill by the hour.  What they 'saved' in memory prices
has nearly been consumed in my labor diagnosing memory problems.  The
old adage of "you can pay up front, or you can pay later" holds true
with cheap RAM just as it does elsewhere.

[0] This system has 16 DIMM slots, so this is not an insignificant
     amount of inconvenience.
Jonathan Patschke  ) "Some people grow out of the petty theft of
Elgin, TX         (   childhood.  Others grow up to be CEOs and
USA                )  politicians."              --Forrest Black

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